DEAR DAVE,

Among the highbrow, fashion photography is too often thought of as unworthy of serious consideration, superficial and corrupted by style and commerce, despite its imaginative narrative, cultural insight, playful subversiveness, and its influence on “fine art” photography of the past 30 years. In conversation, Vince Aletti and Carol Squires discuss some of the premises that underlie their curatorial efforts at the ICP through several exhibitions that comprise “The Year of Fashion.”

In addition, we present an assortment of photographic practices. By photographing greeting cards, parodying self-portraits and other futile ephemera, Anthony Fuller undermines sentiment and artifice whilst longing, without apparent cynicism, for meaningful attachment and authenticity. Aken Wahl discovers densely woven nuances of space, gesture, geometry, shadow and shape, and a seemingly sober formalism builds a lavish plait of visual harmony.

Isaac Diggs provides fragments of a festive and exuberant holiday in Lagos, in which the experience of place is sifted through a decadent colonial past, a complex matrix of class, ritual consumption and sexuality, amidst a crumbling physical framework.

The ethereal and luminous quality of Gary Schneider’s cumulative portrait of a man, John, over twenty years, references an historical moment when the photograph was proof of magic and the mystic, and a revelation of the unseen. With the intimacy of an autopsy, the camera locates heat, pulse, breath and electrical charge, and—despite the influence of science—they are emotional images that inquire into the nature of being alive. At another extreme, in what might resemble a flimsy children’s cutout workbook or cheap novelty, Audrey Corregan playfully engages a mug shot sequence of disguise and camouflage.

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Tracey Baran.

The subject of her diaristic work occurs in images that are both staged and spontaneous, and the tensile area between the two. Through a variety of scenarios—many a form of self- portraiture—the work explores with unusual candor and intimacy the contemporary contradictions of a young female: the longing for glamour and grace in a muscular world and the negotiation between fulfillment and independence. With an understanding of regeneration born of a rural childhood, the themes of mortality and elegy are sadly prescient in the work.

Have a great summer and thanks for all your affection and support.
Stephen